When Scott Sizemore went down on the first day of spring training with a torn ACL, it exposed an area where the Oakland A's were thin on their depth chart: third base and back-up middle infield. The A's padded that depth some on Tuesday by claiming infielder Brandon Hicks off of waivers from the Atlanta Braves.
Hicks was a third-round pick of the Braves in 2007 out of Texas A&M University. Before attending A&M, Hicks played at junior college powerhouse San Jacinto.
The right-handed hitter has five years of minor league experience under his belt, all with the Braves. In those five seasons, he has a .241/.331/.417 line. In 2011, he spent the majority of the season with Triple-A Gwinnett, where he had a .252/.333/.446 line with 18 homers and a 137:41 K:BB ratio. Hicks has primarily been a shortstop during his minor league career, but he saw time at third base with the Braves in 2010 and 2011. In 33 big league games, Hicks has 26 at-bats. He has collected one hit and two walks. Hicks also has some experience at second base.
Hicks' calling card as a minor leaguer has been his glove. He has a strong arm, good hands and is reportedly remarkably consistent. Hicks also has decent power for a shortstop, having collected double-digit homeruns in three of his last four minor league seasons. He is a free-swinger, however, and has more strike-outs than games played in three of his past four seasons.
A part of the Braves' big league roster last Opening Day, Hicks hasn't shown much at the plate in limited big league opportunities. Hicks' best season at the plate came in 2008 when he hit a career-high 20 homers and posted an 802 OPS. He is 26 years old.
Hicks will likely join Josh Donaldson, Adam Rosales, Wes Timmons and Eric Sogard in the battle to take Sizemore's place as the A's starting third baseman or to serve as the A's primary back-up utility infielder. If he doesn't make the Opening Day roster, he will likely suit up with two of the four aforementioned A's infielders, as well as Stephen Parker and possibly Josh Horton or Tyler Ladendorf, on the Triple-A Sacramento roster.